Longtime Yukoner Mark Beese has announced he will seek the Yukon Party nomination in Riverdale North during this year’s territorial election.
Beese is the Yukon Party’s first new potential candidate this election season.
He said the party’s focus on responsible development and a healthy economy fits with his own values.
“I’m really interested in helping people out,” he said. “Making the decisions that are going to guide the future for the territory sounds like a great challenge.”
Beese runs the tools and hardware section at the Home Hardware in Whitehorse, and said he believes in building a strong private sector.
When it comes to local hiring for government contracts, an area where the Yukon Party has faced some criticism from the Yukon’s business community, Beese said it’s important to strike a balance between hiring locally and being cost-effective.
“I think good things like building a strong economy are what’s going to benefit Yukon companies the most,” he said. “And I think that the Yukon Party’s been doing a great job of that.”
Beese also has an interest in long-term care, since his father is currently living at the Copper Ridge Place continuing care facility. Asked about the controversial Whistle Bend facility currently under construction, he said the territory needs more long-term care beds.
“I know how long and how difficult it was to get my father into the care that he needed when he needed it,” he said. “So I think there’s a need for that.”
Beese has lived in the Yukon for the last 25 years, and in Riverdale North for about half that time.
He’s done sales and marketing for Yukon Brewing, and helped launch the Yukon, North of Ordinary magazine. He has also helped run What’s Up Yukon, a weekly entertainment magazine started by his wife, Tammy.
He has also volunteered with the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society, the Tourism Yukon Industry Association’s senior marketing committee and the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce. He is currently on the board of Ride for Dad Yukon, a non-profit organization that raises funds to fight prostate cancer.
Beese has been a member of the Yukon Party for about 12 years, and sat on the party’s executive about 10 years ago.
He said he decided to run for office now because his children are teenagers and are becoming more independent.
Scott Kent, who has represented Riverdale North since 2011, announced last month that he is moving to Marsh Lake and is hoping to run for re-election in Copperbelt South.
“With Scott moving out of the riding, it creates a good opening,” Beese said. “It’s about the timing.”
Former Rendezvous Queen Shirley Chua-Tan is currently seeking the NDP nomination for Riverdale North. The Yukon Liberals have yet to announce a potential candidate for the riding.
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